VW Leverages D-Wave Quantum Computers
March 13, 2017
The Volkswagen Group is the world’s first automaker to use quantum
computers, further expanding its digital competence for the future. In
this context, Volkswagen Group IT is cooperating successfully with
leading quantum computing company D-Wave Systems on a research project
for traffic flow optimization. In the course of this project, IT experts
from the Volkswagen labs in San Francisco and Munich have been the first
to develop a smart mobility program on the D-Wave quantum computer.
Quantum computers can solve highly complex problems many times faster
than conventional supercomputers. To date, quantum computing technology
has been used primarily by scientific institutes, government agencies,
and in the aerospace sector.
At CeBIT 2017 in Hanover, Volkswagen and D-Wave will be announcing their
strategic cooperation and, as a world premiere, demonstrating a software
program that optimizes traffic flow on a quantum computer. In the course
of this project, experts from the Volkswagen Code Lab in San Francisco
and the Volkswagen Data Lab in Munich and used data from approximately
10,000 taxis in Beijing.
Dr. Martin Hofmann, CIO of the Volkswagen Group, says: “We are doing
digital pioneering work. Quantum computing technology can bring
tremendous progress to Volkswagen with respect to all the key IT topics
of the future. We are now laying the foundation for the future by
learning to make effective use of the strengths of a quantum computer.
Our cooperation with D-Wave is a milestone on the way to the digital
future of our Group. This shows that there is no other company where IT
is now as exciting as at Volkswagen.”
Robert “Bo” Ewald, President of D-Wave International, says: “The goal of
our cooperation with Volkswagen is to apply our quantum computing
technology to Volkswagen’s real-world computing challenges and make a
positive impact on their business. Bringing together our quantum
computing experts with their automotive AI experts is the perfect model
to make significant progress toward that goal. This project is a great
example of how computing in the future will be done, with talented
people looking at new ways to solve old problems, and combining
traditional computers with quantum computers to deliver an improved
The strategic cooperation between the two companies focuses on the joint
use of quantum computing systems. Experts from the Volkswagen Group IT
labs are testing the programming of applications and algorithms on
D-Wave’s quantum computer. This will result in the development of
specialist expertise at Volkswagen and on the identification of
meaningful applications that would benefit from the application of
quantum computing within the Group.
The first research project is traffic flow optimization in the Chinese
mega-metropolis of Beijing. Data scientists and AI specialists from
Volkswagen have successfully programmed an algorithm to optimize the
travel time of all public taxis in the city. The computing principle of
a quantum computer is especially well-suited for this project because it
natively solves optimization problems.
simplified terms, an optimization problem considers how a specific
resource (such as time, money or energy) can be used in the best
possible way in a certain scenario. The complexity of the task and
therefore the computing capacity required grow exponentially with the
number of factors to be considered, taking conventional digital
computers to their limits.
The Volkswagen Group is the first automaker to work intensively with
quantum computing technology. Group IT expects a wide range of
application possibilities especially in the areas of autonomous driving,
the robotic enterprise (AI-supported process control), the smart
factory, machine learning and intelligent mobility solutions.
Further projects with D-Wave are to follow. Initially, the main focus is
on the acquisition of specialist knowledge. The IT experts are testing
applications and algorithms to make the best possible use of the
tremendous computing potential of D-Wave‘s quantum computer. In
addition, the Volkswagen Group plans to intensify cooperation with
universities and scientific institutes in the field of quantum